REVIEW: Mac DeMarco’s “Five Easy Hot Dogs” takes listeners on a trip of simplicity


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Made up of 14 songs, Mac DeMarco returns with an instrumental album.

After four years, Mac DeMarco returned with an entirely instrumental album, displaying his funky take on indie music. DeMarco released his sixth album “Five Easy Hot Dogs” on Friday, Jan. 20, consisting of 14 songs with a duration of 34 minutes.

One day after a concert in the Bay Area, DeMarco’s work began in San Francisco, ending in a cabin in Utah. DeMarco lived in people’s houses and resided in motels and hotels along the way. His plan for the production was to drive north and not return home until he completed the record. 

The songs on the album are in chronological order of his destinations. Although it is probable he visited more locations than the cities published on the album, it is likely he recorded only when he was inspired. 

The first two tracks, “Gualala” and “Gualala 2,” start the album with a mellow and relaxed vibe. “Gualala” begins the album with a familiar upbeat instrumental sequence found in his other albums. The latter, “Gualala 2,” captures the image of the small town located on the northern California coast, surrounded by forestry. The unique instrument sequence creates a mythical-like aesthetic, giving listeners a sense of mystery and the unknown. “Gualala 2” presents listeners with the same ominous feeling, similar to Minecraft’s theme song, “Moog City” by C418.

DeMarco’s third track “Crescent City” continues to welcome listeners with another chill instrument sequence. “Crescent City” is a more comforting song with a relaxed beat. The slow and welcoming chord change gives the song a mellow vibe. 

“Portland” is a more typical instrumental pattern to expect from DeMarco. The soft guitar strums give the album a gentleness. Halfway through the song, however, DeMarco’s typical weirdness with computer-generated sounds kills the vibe. It is something to expect from him and is similarly heard at the end of “Moonlight on The River.” Though both songs could have favorably gone without it. 

“Victoria” begins with a few calming notes, sounding similar to high pitched wind chimes on a calm yet breezy day, creating an alluring feeling. It follows with slow bass strums, giving it a comforting feeling. As a whole, the song creates a seaside vibe, like a calm ocean with white sand. 

His next track “Vancouver” presents another upbeat vibe. However, “Vancouver 2” and “Vancouver 3” give listeners a creepy and unpleasant listening experience. Despite the different pitches, the sequences of “Gualala 2” and “Vancouver 3” sound similar to each other.

“Edmonton” and “Edmonton 2” sound quite similar as well as a few of his songs from the Vancouver tracks. While “Edmonton” is higher pitched with an upbeat vibe, “Edmonton 2” is at a lower pitch, producing a more relaxed beat. 

DeMarco’s “Chicago” tracks immediately give life back to the album that was lost during the Canadian recordings. Both “Chicago” and “Chicago 2” present listeners with their own jazzy spunkiness and portrayal of the liveliness of the city. 

The final track, “Rockaway,” presents listeners with another mellow vibe. The guitar strums and relaxed beat gives the album a wrap and a homey feeling. The soothing beat offers a bittersweet trip through his journey traveling.

Despite the simplicity of the music produced in “Five Easy Hot Dogs,” DeMarco’s experiences give the instrumental songs depth, and he is not afraid to express himself in unlikely ways.